This month we spoke with Taylor Gardner, Iowa State Cyclone, lover of squirrels, and Agency Manager for United Medicare Advisors.
What is the typical day like for an Agency Manger?
It’s super cliché, but there really isn’t a typical day. I can have the most organized plan, then something will just happen out of nowhere.
I would imagine that being conscious of that fact is quite helpful.
Yes, and I’ve learned to roll with the punches much more than I used to. I’m figuring out not only how to prioritize things, but also that just because something is unexpected doesn’t mean it has to be done at that very second.
You’ve been here since 2011. How do you think we’ve been able to keep our culture the way it was originally designed?
I really think it starts with the hiring process. People that work here have a sense of humor and can admit when they make a mistake. The result of those two things is an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and asking for help so that they can continue to get better at what they do.
In your position, you really have to make sure people understand that it is okay to ask questions.
Definitely. An issue is only going to be resolved if we are aware of it. That goes both ways. If I see something my team is doing incorrectly, I make sure to bring it to their attention. If they see something in the system that is making them less effective, they bring it to my attention. Above all else though, communication must include ideas for a solution.
So communication plays a large role in the overall success of your department?
Our goal each day is to perform with zero errors. If we see something that will prevent us from doing that, it is changed. I really appreciate it when my team brings something up before it becomes a big issue.
You’re going to be interviewing and hiring quite a bit this year. Do you enjoy that process?
I learn a lot about people during interviews. It makes me better understand the characteristics that will lead to success here. It also helps to be able to see things in people that may end up leading to failure in our system.
You have some good friends at SVG that you met as a result of working here. How do you think that happened?
I worked at an ad agency in college and it was just a bit uptight and I never made a lot of friends there. I think making friends here is a direct result of the way we hire. When you put a lot of like-minded people in an office, friendships will likely occur at some point.
Favorite Book: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
If you could own one animal: I love squirrels, but since I’m pretty sure I could just trap one of those, I’ll say I’d own a horse.
College major: Advertising
Dream job growing up: Aeronautical engineer.
Favorite restaurant: The Rieger